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Picnic Food Ideas (Drinks, Main Dish, Desserts)

Picnic Food Ideas (Drinks, Main Dish, Desserts)

A break from the busy life is the best cure to refresh your mind and body. I like to organize picnics and make sure I arrange one every month. 

There is just something really relaxing about it, but the part that I love the most is preparing picnic food. 

Since the last thing I want is to get down to cooking something that takes hours, I have a whole list of picnic food ideas that are some of the easiest recipes you can come across. 

So, instead of slaving away in the kitchen, these easy to make foods give me the opportunity to relax and take it easy. I just have to throw a few things together, nothing elaborate, and everything is ready within minutes! 

It did take a bit of research to compile these recipes, but they are a lifesaver. So, if you too are looking for picnic food ideas, here are the few that have made my life easier. 

In this we cover drink ideas, main dish ideas, and dessert. Of course, you should also consider snacks. 

Drink ideas 

Strawberry Lemonade

When it comes to taking drinks on picnics, many people just go for the store-bought stuff. I like to keep it all-natural, so I love making the drinks at home. 

I have never gone wrong with this strawberry lemonade and you will love it too. There is no better way to use fresh strawberries and you just have to give it a try to experience the freshness.

• Strawberries
White sugar
• Water
Lemon juice

Read here for the full instructions.

Sun tea

Is there a better picnic drink than sun tea? I think not! Sun tea is a tea that is brewed under the heat of the sun. It takes about 5 hours to brew this tea on a sunny day. So with that said, you may want to brew it in advance and then take it with you on the picnic. My suggestion is brew it in a big glass container and then just pack it along with everything else. Then when you get set up and ready for a drink, pour it over some ice and you are good to go. 

• A gallon glass container or a 2-quart pitcher
• 4  to 8 tea bags
• Filtered water
• Your choice of liquid sweetener (honey, agave, simple syrup, or a combination)

Check out the recipe here.

Cucumber water

When it is hot outside and you are looking for something simple and refreshing consider this cucumber water. This is one of my favorite drinks. When I first learned about it I was quite skeptical. If you are too, just give it a try.

• 1 cucumber
• 1 cup of water
• 1 t. Sugar
• 1 lemon
• 1 dash tajin

Check out the recipe here.

Main Dish Ideas

Cowboy Caviar

First, what is it? If you aren’t familiar the name can be a bit misleading. It is a dip made with black-eyed peas, black beans, red onions, sweet corn, cilantro, bell peppers, and seasonings. 

You can make this easily at home and even add your own twist to the recipe. It takes minutes to put it all together, but to really get that awesome flavor you want to allow it to chill in the fridge. 

I suggest making this the day before but if you can’t do that give it a good hour in the fridge before you eat it. 

Just toss all the ingredients together and you will have a picnic food that is easy, and inexpensive. We always serve it with tortilla chips. If you want to get extra fancy consider blue tortilla chips.
Check out the recipe I use!

Muffuletta Sandwich

Any sandwich is a great idea for party food because it does not take much time to make. You just need to stuff a few ingredients on top of a bun, and it is done.

The crusty Italian bread and the tangy taste of the cheeses make a Muffuletta sandwich a must-have picnic food. I like to try different sandwich recipes every time I go on a picnic, but it is fair to say that Muffuletta Sandwich is my best comfort food.

If you give this sandwich a try get creative. Use the recipe as inspiration but create your own masterpiece.

Want to give this a try? 

Basic Muffuletta Ingredients:
• Italian bread or Muffuletta bread
• Olive salad
• Meats such as salami and ham
• Cheeses such as provolone and mozzarella

The recipes vary but the idea is to make a round sandwich by stuffing it will a lot of goodies. 

Check out the recipe here.

Curried chicken tea sandwiches

Chicken salad sandwiches are a staple picnic food. This recipe just takes it to the next level. The curry in this is ever so slight but provides the perfect amount of flavor to make this sandwich unique.

Be sure to wrap these sandwiches carefully and keep them cold. Call me silly but I love to cut the sandwiches into 4 squares or triangles, just to make them even more visually appealing.

If you want to add an extra bit of twang consider swapping the red apple for green apple.
• cubed chicken
• red-apple
• dried cranberries
• celery
• chopped pecans
green onion
• mayonnaise
• lime juice
• curry powder

Check out the recipe here.


Lemon Pie Bars

A picnic without a dessert does not feel right, so I have a few selections here.
The lemon pie bars are my favorite because they bring a zesty flavor and complement almost all the other picnic food ideas. 

The first time I tried them, everybody loved them, and it has been my favorite ever since. I use thick-skinned lemons, but you can use the lemons that are readily available.

You can use it to make pie bars for fruits as well. Just follow the recipe and substitute the fruit for the lemon.

• Flour
• Sugar
• Butter
• Eggs
• Lemon juice
• Lemon peel

Here’s the recipe I use.

Cheesecake in a jar

Generally speaking, cheesecake is not all that portable but when you put it in a jar, everything changes. This is a no-bake recipe, which means that it is quick to put together.

Now let’s talk about that jar. We purchased an 8 pack of mason jars quite a while back and keep them on hand for various recipes and situations. 

However, if you don’t have jars on hand for this recipe, don’t stress. Use plastic containers. Don’t let the lack of jars keep you from making something delicious for your picnic.

Check out the recipe here.

Peanut butter fudge

This fudge is creamy and only requires 7 ingredients. You most likely have everything you need in your pantry. It travels easily, which makes it a fantastic picnic dessert.

• 2 c brown sugar
• 1 ½ c creamy peanut butter
• 2 ½ c confectioners (powdered) sugar
• ½ c butter
• ½ c milk
• 1 t vanilla extract
• ¼ t salt

Check out the recipe here.

The bottom line

Hopefully, this guide has given you some great picnic food ideas to make your next picnic hassle-free. With the list of ideas given above, you should not have a problem planning your next picnic with your family or friends.

I have tried them all and I love how easy it is to put them all together. So, the next time you want to save time preparing picnic food, do give them a try. 

And I can bet that they will give your taste buds a joyride that you will not forget soon. However, remember, it is better to try some of these recipes at home first so you can decide which one of these you like the best.

Picnic Food Ideas (Drinks, Main Dish, Desserts)

Picnic Food Ideas (Drinks, Main Dish, Desserts)

Some picnic food ideas including drinks, main dish, desserts to step up your picnic game


Drink ideas:

  • Strawberry Lemonade
  • Sun tea
  • Cucumber water

Main Dish Ideas:

  • Cowboy Caviar
  • Muffuletta Sandwich
  • Curried chicken tea sandwiches


  • Lemon Pie Bars
  • Cheesecake in a jar
  • Peanut butter fudge


Pick out a few picnic food ideas to try.

Tell us your favorites below.

Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Cheryl A Bomar

Sunday 23rd of May 2021

Picnics are awesome!

Dale Steele Nicolov

Saturday 1st of May 2021

Our favourite summertime activity is going on picnics.

Donna L Holder

Saturday 24th of April 2021

i love cooking and eating outside. thank you

Joe Burba

Sunday 8th of November 2020


wendy hutton

Friday 6th of November 2020

this looks great thanks

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